Care of Norfolk Pine Spiral Tree


The Norfolk Island pine tree (Araucaria heterophylla) is an attractive tree usually grown as an ornamental, potted Christmas tree. It is often called a "spiral" tree because the branches grow in a spiral pattern around the trunk of the tree. Native to the eastern parts of Australia, these trees can get up to 80 feet tall when in the wild. This tender, warm-climate tree does not grow well outdoors in most areas save those that are subtropical or tropical. For that reason, it is usually grown as a houseplant.

Step 1

Provide plenty of bright but indirect light for your Norfolk pine. The tree prefers full sunlight, but not direct, hot sun such as often seen during the afternoon hours. Such sunlight exposure scorches the tree's needles. Instead, place the tree where it will receive morning sun followed by afternoon shade, or indirect sun, such as a south-facing window.

Step 2

Keep the temperatures consistently warm, but not hot. The Norfolk pine thrives in daytime temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with a drop of about 10 degrees during the nighttime hours.

Step 3

Water your tree when the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch. If the tree is in a container, let the water drain completely, then empty the water catch tray so that the plant is not sitting in water. Standing water on the soil will cause root rot in the tree.

Step 4

Fertilize your Norfolk pine with a balanced (10-10-10), water-soluble fertilizer once or twice a month. If your tree is potted, choose a fertilizer formulated for indoor, evergreen plants.

Step 5

Provide humidity for your Norfolk pine. These trees need very moist air--up to 50 percent humidity is ideal--according to B. Rosie Lerner, a horticulturist with Purdue University. Indoor potted plants can be placed on a tray filled with water and pebbles, or near a humidifier.

Things You'll Need

  • Watering tool
  • Balanced (10-10-10), water-soluble fertilizer
  • Humidifier or tray and pebbles


  • University of Florida: Araucaria heterophylla: Norfolk-Island-Pine
  • Purdue University: Norfolk Island Pine Needs TLC
  • Iowa State University: Care of the Norfolk Island Pine

Who Can Help

  • Davis Farms: Tips and Lore: Norfolk Island Pine
Keywords: care of Norfolk island pine, Norfolk pine spiral tree, Araucaria heterophylla

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.